Twenty-four-year-old prodigy Jon Jones continued to build his legacy at UFC 140 with an impressive second-round submission triumph over Lyoto Machida to retain his UFC light heavyweight title in front of 18,303 fans at the Air Canada Centre.
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Despite Jones being a massive favorite on betting lines, Machida proved to be a complex puzzle to solve. The former champion landed effective counterpunches, but the tide turned in the second stanza after Jones used a sharp elbow to open a gash on the Brazilian’s forehead.
"I’ve never fought anyone like Lyoto," said Jones. "The first round was very, very confusing for me … Once I cut him with the elbow from the top position, that’s when my confidence really started to skyrocket."
Later in the round, Jones secured a guillotine choke, from which Machida never recovered. When referee John McCarthy stopped the fight, Machida collapsed unconscious to the mat.
Machida admitted his vision was blurry after the elbow, but he remains hopeful of getting another shot at Jones in the future. Meanwhile, the UFC light heavyweight champion believes his performance could have silenced critics doubting the caliber of his chin.
"That’s definitely something that was made up by media, you know, that I couldn’t take a punch," said Jones. "I thought that was something to address to quiet more critics. I train with guys like Andrei Arlovski, Travis Browne. These guys hit really, really hard. I knew that I could take a punch and I’m glad I got to prove it tonight."
UFC president Dana White was impressed with Jones’ performance, saying he could go down as the greatest fighter in history.
"He’s the real deal, man," said White. "He went in there against a highly motivated, in-shape Lyoto Machida. He’s had an incredible schedule this year fighting the best in the world. This is the first time the belt has been defended since Chuck Liddell."
White awarded both Jones and Machida $75,000 "Fight of the Night" bonuses.
Lightning struck twice for Frank Mir as he became the first man to submit legendary former Pride heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in their heavyweight rematch.
Nogueira had Mir wobbled with heavy shots, but Mir showcased tremendous Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills by escaping a D’Arce choke and sinking in a kimura of his own. The dramatic finish came when Nogueira’s shoulder popped and he was forced to tap out in agony.
White called Mir’s win the "Submission of the Century" and awarded him a $75,000 bonus for finishing one of the sport’s elite submission specialists.
"I was trying to see what he was doing differently," said Mir. "Patience was the key. My game plan was to wait for things to happen. In the past, I’d rush into things. My goal was also to submit him. I’m really glad the fight ended the way it did."
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, meanwhile, "Minotauro" Nogueira’s twin brother, returned to the win column with an emphatic first-round finish over former UFC poster boy Tito Ortiz. "Little Nog" put "The People’s Champ" away with vicious ground-and-pound in the first round.
"I wanted this win badly," said Nogueira. "Once we took it to the ground, I got on top and gave it my all."
Ortiz, who has come out victorious only once in his last eight fights, is hopeful he can finish his career in the UFC.
"I gave it my all," said Ortiz. "Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. I’m going to take some time off and enjoy the holidays with my family. I have one more fight left in my contract. I’m going to give the fans one more fight that is my best."
"We’ll see what happens," said White in response to Ortiz finishing his UFC contract.
In his first fight since the untimely death of his longtime coach Shawn Tompkins, homegrown hero Mark Hominick was stunned by South Korean sensation Chan Sung Jung, succumbing to a barrage of punches just seven seconds into their featherweight matchup. Jung tied the fastest knockout record in UFC history and earned a $75,000 bonus for "Knockout of the Night."
"I wasn’t happy with the crowd’s reaction, but I understood their response," said Jung. "I knew I was going to dictate the pace of the fight. My game plan was to come out strong and send a message."
Hominick, who broke down backstage in front of reporters, blames his aggressiveness for the quick loss.
"I let my emotions get the best of me and didn’t follow my game plan," said the Ontario native. "I got a little too hyped up."
"Anything could happen," said White. "Hominick went in there and got caught. It’s fighting, it’s what happens. You never hold that against a guy. It is what it is."
In a welterweight bout, Brian Ebersole edged hometown favorite Claude Patrick via closely contested split decision.
Light heavyweight Igor Pokrajac and middleweight Constantinos Philippou earned resounding first-round knockout wins over Krzysztof Soszynski and Jared Hamman, respectively.
In his lightweight debut, well-travelled veteran Dennis Hallman overwhelmed previously unbeaten Montreal resident John Makdessi en route to a first-round submission win.
"I am happy to get a win," said Hallman, who failed to make the 155-pound limit. "I had a lot of accolades taken away from me because I didn’t make weight. I knew how to beat him. I studied him and was ready to win."
Bantamweight Yves Jabouin dealt Walel Watson his first UFC loss, defeating him by razor-thin split decision.
After recently relocating to Tristar Gym in Montreal, Mark Bocek turned in a dominant performance against Minnesota Marital Arts product Nik Lentz in a lightweight bout, winning by a unanimous shutout decision.
"I prepared for going all three rounds going into the fight," said Bocek, a Toronto native. "It was great to fight here. The fans are awesome."
Finally, middleweight Jake Hecht shocked Rich Attonito in his UFC debut, putting him away with strikes in round two, while lightweight John Cholish put the first blemish on Mitch Clarke’s record with a second-round TKO victory.